The broader aim of Erasmus+ KA1 projects is to enhance internationalization of the education. Internationalization increases employability, intercultural awareness, social capital, motivation for change, information sharing, awareness of different educational systems etc. European Development Plan in the KA1 application form is basically the answer to the question how will you strengthen internationalization of your school.
Tip # 1: Think about the internationalization of your school
The European Development Plan is about your future. How would you like to be integrated in the international projects? Is there a common agreement among your teachers to participate in international projects? What will internationalization bring to your students, to your teachers, to parents, and to the local community? How will international cooperation improve the quality of your school? Do you have a support from your management? It is not enough to state your wish for internationalization. You really need a productive discussion within your school in order to look on the possibility of the internationalization from different perspectives.
Strength lies in difference, not in similarities.
Tip # 2: Be realistic
If your school does not have any experience with international mobility or other international projects yet, then it would be unwise to write that you will establish cooperation with 25 schools from other countries in 1 year. Go gradually. Start with one mobility project and tell the evaluators how your first mobility project will help you to get new contacts for one additional project. It is important to be aware how much can you do with your current competencies and experience. Otherwise, evaluators will give lower points to your European Development Plan with the argument that it is unlikely that you will be able to fulfill the plan.
Tip # 3: Be concrete
Can you tell the difference between the following two sentences? First, we will increase our international cooperation and bring a lot of good practices to our school. Second, we will increase our capability for teaching entrepreneurship by introducing 3 innovative teaching methods for entrepreneurship which we will learn in 3 different countries with 3 different international partners.
The first statement allows different interpretations and you will never know how the evaluator will understand your plan. In contrast, the second statement is much more concrete with exact data. Your evaluator gets a clear picture what would you like to achieve.
Tip # 4: Mind the European dimension of your plan
You go to another country because you want experience which you cannot get at your home country. Remember to write in your application what exactly will you get with mobility project that you cannot get at your home country. If you write that you will go on Erasmus+ course about developing soft skills, your evaluators might give you lower points with the argument that you can get such a course in your home country. So you need a strong argumentation what can you get with the international course. For instance, new contacts for further international projects, study visit of different institutions in another country, best practice exchange with other participants, etc.
Tip # 5: Is it really necessary to send the whole team to one Erasmus+ course?
One of the goals of Erasmus+ courses is to establish good networks among participants as a basis for future projects. If you send a group of 18 teachers to one course you will not be able to increase your network. In this case, you can negotiate a tailor-made course with your course provider. However, write strong arguments why you need a tailor-made course. For instance, maybe your school wants to develop a specific interdisciplinary project about green innovations for the students and your whole team needs additional competencies in order to implement such a project.
Tip # 6: Evidence-based plan
The quality of your European Development Plan will be higher if you prepare it based on the findings of different discussions, workshops or interviews with the key stakeholders. Gather together relevant people: teachers, school management, parents, students, local government. Organize creative and inspirational conversation in groups where participants are invited to share their ideas about internationalization of your school. Ask them broadening questions and write all the ideas. Writing European Development Plan will be much easier and relevant having ideas produced by a group of people who cares about your school.
Tip # 7: Mention dissemination
Mobility project is not just for you. It is also for your local community and for the whole school. Thus, plan some serious dissemination actions in order to spread the knowledge as much as possible. A workshop with your fellow colleagues, with parents or with students might add value to your mobility project. Write a few articles about your mobility project, record a video, and most important, implement the knowledge to your practice. In the European Development Plan mention 1 or 2 sentences about the dissemination from the point of view of your internationalization.
Tip # 8: Useful words in European Development Plan
Internationalization, benchmarking, social capital, lifelong learning, European cooperation, capacity-building, multilingualism, cultural awareness, exchange of good practices, intercultural learning, organizational learning, interdisciplinary learning, school values, European values, European activities, enable students to learn about Europe, prepare students for learning, life and work in an international environment, enable pupils to learn through an international context.
These are ideas which reflect areas of good European Development Plan. However, the list is not exhaustive. Find also your own areas.
Throughout the years of working as Erasmus+ KA1 course provider we gained a clear picture of how does a high quality KA1 application form looks like. We are happy to share our insights in order to increase the quality of international mobility projects in the field of teacher training.